Street Talk: They are showing a way forward


The #MeToo generation is taking a stand.

The authors of a Nov. 17 letter to the Business Journal entitled “A way forward against sexual harassment” are planning a public forum next month on the topic.

The Progressive Women’s Alliance of West Michigan will host a nonpartisan community dialogue on sexual harassment and assault from 5-6:30 p.m. Feb. 7, at the YWCA West Central Michigan, 25 Sheldon Blvd. SE.

Those interested in attending the free event are asked to RSVP at

PWA has invited Sandra Gaddy, CEO, Women’s Resource Center; Charisse Mitchell, CEO, YWCA West Central Michigan; and Diana Sieger, president, Grand Rapids Community Foundation — the women who co-authored the letter — to speak on a panel at the event.

Kathleen Bruinsma, Progressive Women’s Alliance board member, will moderate the discussion.

PWA said the event will invite participants to consider ways to move forward “with the goal of ending sexual harassment and sexual aggression in all its forms.”

“Join us … as these community leaders will engage in a dialogue on how we can change the culture that creates and allows sexual harassment,” PWA said.

PWA West Michigan is a regional chapter of the nationwide, women-led PWA organization, which seeks to influence public policy on issues such as reproductive rights, education, LGBTQ equality, environmental issues, public transportation, safe roads, disability equality and gun control.

Women’s Resource Center was created to help women discover their strengths and overcome barriers to economic independence.

YWCA West Central Michigan is dedicated to ending racism and addressing domestic and sexual violence.

Grand Rapids Community Foundation manages an endowment fund that goes toward community grants, scholarships and investments.

Sales moves

New cloud-based software for digital asset management is aiming at improving marketing efficiency for enterprise-level businesses.

FISION is a “digital warehouse” designed to enable marketing and sales to work better together by extending marketing automation platforms and customer relationship management to better equip distributed sales teams and local marketers.

Company CEO Mike Brown said FISION is the “single source of truth” for a company’s marketing assets. The platform is designed to simplify the creation and distribution of digital material and store it in a singular location, which anyone can access and edit per company policy.

“Say Ameriprise Financial wants to sell a specific financial product,” he said. “Those products are regulated by various government agencies. If I put it out and it doesn’t provide specific disclaimers, I could get in trouble … FISION is a single source of truth, so when Ameriprise puts their information out, it’s the most accurate, up-to-date information.”

In terms of security, Brown said FISION goes through the highest level of scrutiny to be approved for major companies.

“We just had a financial services company sign up this past fall,” he said. “You can imagine it’s pretty serious stuff. We went through nine different levels of security audit to be approved as a vendor for that company.”

As a marketing asset management platform, FISION complements customer relationship management platforms like Salesforce and marketing automation platforms like Eloqua and Marketo.

FISION boasts the ability to increase marketing efficiency by 300 percent while making sales representatives 100 percent more productive.

“A salesperson will spend a third of their time selling. They’ll spend another third of their time looking for the right sales materials,” Brown said. “What if we could eliminate that problem, if you know where (materials are) … what if I could increase your sales productivity by 5 percent, 15 percent or 20 percent?”

Training way

Tim Koberna, assistant professor of kinesiology and head athletic trainer at Hope College, is receiving the 2018 Student Senate Preceptor of the Year award from the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers’ Association (GLATA) for his outstanding work with students.

Nominated by his students at Hope, he has been selected from among all of the athletic trainers who serve as mentors in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. He will receive the award during GLATA’s 50th Annual Meeting and Symposium, held March 14-17 in Wheeling, Illinois.

“The award honors the clinical educator who provides valuable opportunities for knowledge acquisition and skill development in the clinical setting of an athletic training program,” said Dr. Kirk Brumels, who is a professor of kinesiology and chair of the department at Hope, as well as director of the college’s athletic training program. “We have known that Tim is deserving of this award ever since he stepped foot onto our campus, but it is certainly nice to have others recognize that, as well.”

Koberna has been a member of the Hope faculty since 2013. His teaching in the college’s athletic training program includes practicum courses for first-year students learning basic skills and for advanced junior- and senior-level students. In addition to their coursework, many students work alongside Koberna and the other members of the athletic training staff in the facilities.

“In the morning, we’re in the classroom setting, and in the afternoon, we’re applying a lot of those same skills and techniques,” Koberna said.  “It’s a unique model and lends itself to learning and for our students becoming proficient with their skill sets.”

Get the lead out

All three Grand Rapids-area locations of Rylee's Ace Hardware stores raised a total of $6,000 to support the work of Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan in spotlighting the dangers of lead poisoning in children.

From Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve last year, customers were educated about the issue and asked to round their purchase costs up to the next dollar.

"With an average of 1,500 customers coming through our three stores collectively on a daily basis, we knew we had a dedicated audience who would be hearing about the kids that are hurting in our community due to lead poisoning and what Healthy Homes is doing to fight that," said Lori Terpstra, owner and CEO of Rylee’s Ace Hardware.

“The two questions our customers had were, ‘Is this organization local?’ and, ‘Are you sure the money is staying in our community?’ and once we told them yes, they were eager to round-up their purchase,” she said.

Rylee’s has done similar campaigns for other organizations, but this year, company leaders selected the lead poisoning issue after it was brought to their attention by an employee.

The Healthy Homes Coalition will use the funds to provide lead safety supplies for low-income households with children and help parents check their homes for lead hazards.

"We had no clue how successful this would be, but the community responded in a big way and we're hoping that as more people in our community learn about this, they too will help keep our kids safe from the dangers of lead poisoning,” Terpstra said.

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